SpokenWord open mic every Monday, AWOL Writers’ Group every Sunday

This info last updated 1st May 2018. 

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do an open mic night called SpokenWord every Monday au Chat Noir and an allied writers’ workshop at Shakespeare & Company (every Sunday.) We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive…………………….. Acoustic songs also welcome.

SpokenWord Sounds
Some podcasts from Monday nights au Chat Noir, by Victor. Listen or download here.

Starts again 4th Sept. Then every Monday Au Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up 8pm to 9.30pm in the bar. Poetics start from 8.30pm underground. Check out the Practical info page for more info. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All langues welcome. Entry one euro.

Check next week’s theme here

AWOL Writers’ Group – free!
6.30pm-8.30pm every Sunday at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005. Free. Bring your writing or just come and listen join the discussion. Hosted by Bruce Sherfield and Simon Millward. Description Join us afterwards for a drink.

Chat Noir sketch drawn by Allison Iwata.

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Kathleen Spivack to Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 25th–Monday’s Theme: The Other


Kathleen Spivack is an award winning poet, novelist and essayist. (She is also a friend to many a writer, imparting both guidance and undying support–My words)  Her newest book is the novel Unspeakable Things (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016). The book centers on European refugees in New York City struggling to survive during the last year of the second World War. Her earlier book, With Robert Lowell and His Circle (2012), a memoir, was published by the University Press of New England. A History of Yearning (2010) won the Sow’s Ear International Poetry Chapbook Prize and also won first prize in the poetry book category at the London Book Festival. Recent poems have won first prizes including the Allen Ginsberg Memorial Poetry Award and the New England Poetry Club’s Erika Mumford Prize. She has also won several Solas International Best Essay awards. Residencies include the Radcliffe Institute, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony and the American Academy in Rome. Fellowships include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Commission. She teaches in Boston and Paris.

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Bruce Edward Sherfield to Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 18th–Monday’s Theme: Essence / Scent


Bruce  has always considered himself an unidentified flying artist, dividing his career between dance, acting, songwriting, rap, composing, collage, voiceover, and his biggest passion: the written word. ” I have a BFA(Biggest Fluke of ALL?) from the University of Florida in collage, painting and performance”.  He’s done the music thing with bands like Spontane, Versus and Sophia Lorenians, at many festivals all over the world.3-time co-editor/designer of the Bastille Lit Magazine of SpokenWord Paris, and co-host of a weekly writing workshop at Shakespeare & Co. since 2011. Now known as AWOL.In 2015, he taught poetry/slam/hip-hop to young writers for the US Embassies in the Congo, Senegal and Niger. In 2016, he was invited to Conques to give an art-therapy workshop against the trauma of torture. In 2017, He starred, wrote and directed his first sci-fi cartoon, Kabuki Zamboni.  He collects typewriters and donates them to kids and writers.Tonight, he will be presenting the second (hand-cut, hand stamped, handmade in 5 hours) book in his Wifty-Fun series, called Another Son’s Treasure, ”100 memories picked from the trash of this, my mother’s passing”.

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Hassan Melehy to Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 11th–Monday’s Theme: Migration

hassan-headshot-2 (1)  Originally from New England, Hassan Melehy lived all over the United States before settling in North Carolina in 2004. His poems have appeared in The Hat, nthposition, Borderlands, and Redheaded Stepchild, among other journals. His first collection, A Modest Apocalypse, was published by Eyewear in 2017. His verse is eclectic but owes more to experimental practices, from the sixteenth century to the present, than anything. The son of immigrants, one from western Europe and the other from the Middle East, he sometimes writes about his experiences as a second-generation American. In addition to his creative writing he has written three books of literary criticism, most recently Kerouac: Language, Poetics, and Territory (Bloomsbury, 2016). He lives in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife, Dorothea Heitsch, and teaches French and Comparative Literature at UNC.

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Mia Funk to Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 4th–Monday’s Theme: Memory


Mia Funk – artist, writer, interviewer and founder of The Creative Process traveling exhibition and international educational initiative(Please link to: www.creativeprocess.info)  Mia’s portraits of writers and artists appear in many public collections, including the U.S. Library of Congress, Dublin Writers Museum, Office of Public Works, American Writers Museum (forthcoming), and other museums and culture centers. Funk has received many awards and honors, including the Prix de Peinture from the Salon d’Automne de Paris and has exhibited at the Grand Palais, Paris. She was commissioned by the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival to paint their 30th-anniversary commemorative painting of over 20 jazz legends. Her paintings of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud won the Thames & Hudson Pictureworks Prize and were exhibited in Brussels for Bacon’s centenary, in Paris at the American University, as well as international arts festivals in Europe. As a writer and interviewer, contributes to various national publications. She served on the National Advisory Council of the American Writers Museum 2016-17. The Creative Process traveling exhibition is being held at leading universities, museums, culture centers around the world.




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Janine Booth and Zachary Coffin to Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 28th! Monday’s Theme: Passion / Compassion

InvisibleFestival200418ZacharyCoffin-DieTrying-SteveClay-Profile (2)

Janine Booth is a Marxist motormouth, who is in the second half of her poetry adventure having ranted in the 1980s and recomposed in 2014. She writes and performs poems funny and serious, formal and random. Janine’s poems have been published in numerous mags and anthologies, and in four of her own little books. Check out her website:  http://www. janinebooth.com/

Zachary Coffin (in his own words) is an unsuccessful writer and mediocre actor, somewhat known as that #EvilWhiteGuy in Bollywood.  He graduated from fancy schools with legendary teachers, and lives in their shadows, still learning.  He’s from California and has worked in 30 countries; but Mumbai meri jaan. Zack’s mother performs at SpokenWord Paris; he thought it might delight her if he did, too. http://www.youtube.com/ZacharyCoffinPage; http://www.imdb.me/ZacharyCoffin

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Adeena Karasick to Guest at SpokenWord Paris May 21st–Monday’s Theme: Language

We Sell no SellAdeena Karasick is a New York based Canadian poet, performer, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of eight books of poetry and poetics. Her Kabbalistically inflected, urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) “a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick’s signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin); “one long dithyramb of desire, a seven-veiled dance of seduction that celebrates the tangles, convolutions, and ecstacies of unbridled sexuality… demonstrating how desire flows through language, an unstoppable flood of allusion (both literary and pop-cultural), word-play, and extravagant and outrageous sound-work.” (Mark Scroggins). Most recently is Checking In (Talonbooks, 2018) and Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, Italy, 2017), the libretto for her Spoken Word opera co-created with Grammy award winning composer, Sir Frank London. She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Dept. at Pratt Institute, is Poetry Editor for Explorations in Media Ecology, 2018 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award recipient and winner of the 2016 Voce Donna Italia award for her contributions to feminist thinking. The “Adeena Karasick Archive” is established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University.

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Hanniffa Patterson to Guest at SpokenWord Paris May 14th–Monday’s Theme: Identity

IMG_3657Hanniffa Patterson is a Jamaican who has lived in Paris for over 6.5 years and in France for 8. She has been writing and hoarding her poetry since she was 5 years old, but truly got the courage to share her work 6 years ago at Spokenword Paris. Since then she‘ll read for whoever will listen. Her poetry often has themes of love, heartbreak, religion and identity.  She enjoys travelling, photography, meeting new people and dressing up. She loves cake and hates endives, both with equal passion.

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Rudka Zydel, Yuuri Miki, Katsuhiko Murata to Guest at SpokenWord Paris May 7th–Monday’s Theme: Voice/Sound

Rudka Zydel (born 1987) – lives in Krakow, slam poet since 2012. Winner of the first National Slam Poetry Championship in Poland. Performed all around the country, tries to give high school students a voice during slam poetry workshops. Loves watching poets dance frantically to James Brown and at least once a year dreams about Rock Hudson. Her album in English would be called Clatteris.
Yuuri Miki, born 12.31.1984, grew up among haikus, modern poetry and a wide range of music. In Junior  High, one of her haikus received great recognition in Japan. Then she re-emerged in 2012 on stage in Tokyo thanks to her musical style and a quite vivid language.  She collaborated in various rock bands and won Idol contests in various Live Houses (the common music stages you find everywhere in Japan). In 2017, she organized the Ueno Poetrican Jam 5, gathering more than 900 poetry fans and subsequently won the Japanese Poetry Slam.  She has already  married three times and has 2 kids. And she wants the world to know that there is a girl that much punk rock in Japan. Wait for her and shiver!
 Katsuhiko Murata  refers to himself as a “spoken-word activist”. He produced the Poetry Reading Video “The Voice” in 2004.  In 2005, visited N.Y.C where he had previously taken part in the the poetry slam in Nuyorican Poets Cafe. There, he joined the Poetry Slam at Bowery Poetry Club. Since 2010, he has been involved in the Spring Annual live series  “Do-gyo Ninin” (nspired by Basho the great writer of Haikus)  with his friend Kawaguchi Takeshi.  His first album CD ” Birth of a Poet ”  was released in the spring of 2014. He came to Paris in 2014 and participated in the open mic of both Chat Noir and Down Town Café. He also participated in the Poetry Slam World Cup, interacting with poets from many countries. Then he decided to present a National Slam in Japan.where he hosted the first since 2015. The scale of competition continues to expand every year.
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Jeffrey Greene to Guest at SpokenWord Paris April 30th—Monday’s Theme: Domestic Narratives

JeffreyGreenePhoto.jpegJeffrey Greene has published five collections of poetry, most recently Beyond Our Means (2016).  He is the author of the memoir French Spirits and three personalized nature books.  A fourth nature book, Seven Music Forests, is under contract. He is also the author of Shades of the Other Shore, a book of mixed genre writing: sketches, prose pieces, and poetry written in collaboration with painter Ralph Petty. His writing has been supported by the NEA, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and Rinehart Fund, and he was a winner of the Samuel French Morse Prize, the Randall Jarrell Award, and the “Discovery”/ The Nation Award.  His poems, short stories, and essays have appeared numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, Ploughshares, Agni, Kenyon Review, and the anthologies Strangers in Paris, Intimacy, and Nothing to Declare: A Guide to Flash Sequence. He is professor at the American University of Paris and mentors for the Pan-European MFA Program.

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SpokenWord on Monday 23rd April: Insults, Shakespearean and otherwise.

Thou cream faced loon!

You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune!

It’s Shakespeare’s birthday (and deathday) once again so at SpokenWord we’re celebrating with a theme of:

Insults, Shakespearean and otherwise 

It’s 11 years and more since I started this open mic night in Paris and for once it’s come round on the day that also happens to be my birthday. So for as far as I can remember the first time, I’m gonna take the stage for the featured poet spot myself instead of just having 5 minutes. And I’ll read some things new and most likely some old favourites.

It’s brought me so much poetry and joy and friends and drunken nights and fun and even the occasional lover, this SpokenWord Paris night. Long may it continue and many thanks to all of you who’ve sailed with me on these Monday nights and whose company has made Paris so much of what it has been for me. Without you, this would not have become home, where the wandering stopped and poetry grew and flourished.

What? Oh, yes, I’ll be 47.

And not cycling home drunk (and falling off my bike twice) like my 40th, celebrated at SpokenWord back in the day when we did it at the Culture Rapide.

Drop in, come down, and raise a glass or share an insult, Shakespearean or otherwise!

Cheers all,

David Barnes


Thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows!

Thou art as loathsome as a toad! I do desire we may be better strangers! Your virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.


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